The Hepworth Wakefield in West Yorkshire has been chosen as Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017.
The £100,000 prize that goes with the award is the world’s largest for museums, rewarding the museum “that has shown exceptional imagination, innovation and creativity in all areas of the business.”
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “The Hepworth Wakefield has been a powerful force of energy from the moment it opened in 2011, but it has just kept growing in reach and impact ever since.
“David Chipperfield’s building has proved a perfect stage — both for the display of collections and as the platform for a breathtaking sequence of special exhibitions, curated with determined originality by the talented curatorial team.”
2016 was an exceptional year for the Hepworth Wakefield with 21% growth in visits and major exhibitions that included The Hepworth Prize for Sculpture and retrospectives of both Martin Parr and Stanley Spencer and a newly commissioned installation by Anthea Hamilton.
An ambitious future collaboration with partners in the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle – Henry Moore Institute, Leeds Art Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park – will be announced soon, as will a new initiative to continue to grow the collection.
Deuchar continued: “The Hepworth serves its local community and contributes to regional tourism too … It’s the museum everyone would dream of having on their doorstep.”
The four other finalists were Tate Modern and Sir John Soane’s Museum, both London-based, Lapworth Museum of Geology in Birmingham and the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art in Newmarket.
Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield, said: “Something very special is happening in our part of Yorkshire as we’ve now got two Museums of the Year with our near neighbour Yorkshire Sculpture Park who won it in 2014.”
Wallis praised the “unflagging passion” of the Hepworth team and gallery architect David Chipperfield’s “beautiful and compelling” design on the banks of the river Calder.
Watch the Video of The Hepworth Wakefield Below: